Which Mason Crosby Will Show Up in 2013?


Mason Crosby may be looking over his shoulder during training camp this summer.

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Will the real Mason Crosby please stand up? Because the Green Bay Packers really need to know who you are – like, soon.

With the confirmation from CBSSports.com that the Packers have signed University of California kicker Giorgio Tavecchio as camp competition for the 2013 season, all Packers fans have to wonder if Crosby will be kicking in gold pants when the regular season rolls around.

Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby (2) reacts after kicking a field goal during the game against the Minnesota Vikings in the 4th quarter at Lambeau Field. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports


Because last season, Crosby hit just 63.6 percent of his field goal attempts. Yuck. That was the worst in the NFL last year and by far the worst season-long mark of his career (though, to be fair, 7 of his 12 misses in 2012 were from 50 yards or more.)

I’ve never been completely sold on Crosby, mostly because he was prone to missing kicks in critical situations early in his career. It makes me nervous to watch him attempt field goals – kind of like watching Shaquille O’Neal shoot free throws.

Particularly in 2008 Crosby struggled in tight situations, missing important kicks against Atlanta and Minnesota which led directly to losses. And I recall throwing a shoe at the TV in 2010 when he missed two kicks in a loss to the Redskins, which included clanking a 53-yard, would-be game-winner off the left upright seconds before the final gun.

But Packers Nation (myself included) began really warming up to Crosby after his stellar 2011 in which he connected on 85.7 percent of his field goal attempts. He’s also at 76.8 percent for his career, even including last season’s head-scratcher of a performance, which is below standard (only five kickers in the NFL were under 80 percent last season) but isn’t terrible.

And as for extra points, well, the guy is a machine. That should not be overlooked, either; the Green Bay Packers offense supplies no shortage of point-after attempts, and he’s 118 for 119 in the last two seasons alone. (For comparison’s sake, Tavecchio made 48 of 64 field goals for 75 percent, and 112 of 120 extra points, or 93.3 percent, in four years at Cal).

But 2012 was not kind to Crosby, which is why Ted Thompson decided to bring in competition. Crosby was – pardon the pun – very hit or miss, and streaks were the norm.

Mason Crosby

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

The good: Mason Crosby finished the 2013 regular season on a 8-for-8 streak, including the playoffs.

The bad: Crosby had been a pathetic 7-for-15 prior to that streak, after starting the season hitting 9 of his first 13 kicks.

What to do, what to do?

Honestly, the Packers’ brass has been supportive of Crosby, and in 2011 rewarded him with a five-year, $14.75 million contract extension that included a $3 million signing bonus. My guess is Crosby wins the camp battle and has another serviceable year, probably hitting around the 75 percent mark on his field goals. Let’s all cross our fingers he doesn’t miss any potential game-winners – because  I’m running out of shoes.

Do you think Tavecchio will beat out Crosby in training camp? Leave your comments below.

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